SGA, GTPD, Atlanta police to address campus crime

In light of recent events, crime on campus has become an imperative concern to members of the community. SGA is planning to host a “Crime Prevention and Awareness Night” on Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the IC Lawn in an effort to educate students about safety practices and inform them about crime prevention measures taken by the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) in conjunction with the Atlanta Police Department (APD).

“This event is about raising campus vigilance on safety issues and encouraging students to be safe, but it is also a celebration of the safety we enjoy as a result of the work of GTPD and the APD,” said Corey Boone, a 3rd year MGT student and Vice President of Communications for SGA.

Members from GTPD and APD will be present at the event to speak about campus crime and safety. While the event is targeted primarily towards students, members from across the campus community are encouraged to attend and learn about safe practices that can help prevent crime.

“We want to persuade students to feel compelled about this issue, to take it seriously and take matters into their own hands and be safe,” said Brenda Morales-Pico, a 3rd year BCHM major and the Institute Wide Committees Chair for SGA.

Crime on campus has become an unavoidable issue, with crimes becoming more violent and students being victimized frequently. Recently, a professor was robbed at gunpoint while checking on damage to his car. In March, two students were robbed at gunpoint in the center of campus while traveling along a detour setup due to construction around Skiles Walkway. Not only that, but crimes have also included vehicle break-ins as well as robberies occuring on campus.

In one of the more extreme incidents, on May 4 a student was shot and two other victims were robbed at gunpoint during a carjacking off-campus. While the student recovered from his injuries, the nature of the incident raised alarm among the campus community and in the greater Atlanta area about the safety of Tech students. The student who was shot during the summer will share his experience at the event next week and talk about how other students can deal with campus safety and prevent crime from affecting them.

The resulting impact on the community has led various campus organizations to take measures to improve safety on campus.

For example, GTPD has increased its coordination with APD to help prevent crime and has made a greater effort to be present at campus events and raise awareness about safe practices on campus. Parking expanded the Stingerette shuttle service to drop students off at certain locations off-campus during the summer. However, due to the volume of requests for the shuttle service during the fall semester, this service has been discontinued for students living off-campus.

In addition to hosting this event, SGA has created the Campus Safety Taskforce, a committee made up of various campus leaders determined to spread awareness about crime on campus and improve safety for students.

A proposal has also been put forward by the committee to start an off-campus student association for individuals living in Home Park and other popular off-campus student residences.

“The organization would increase communication between students living off campus and give them the ability to lobby communities for increased safety precautions,” said Jimmy Williams, a 3rd year BMED student and the Vice President of Campus Affairs for SGA.

Another one of the initiatives taken by the taskforce is to work with Communications and Marketing to distribute fliers across campus that detail crime deterring measures. In addition, the taskforce has worked with Papa John’s to distribute crime awareness and prevention fliers with each order.

Campus safety is an issue that has dogged the Institute for many years. SGA and other campus organizations are hopeful that their recent push to improve campus can reduce crime on campus and keep students safe. These organizations plan on continuing to increase safety awareness amongst the student body.